“What is important is that there no longer be rejection in their hearts…gradually, we must expect further steps…like concelebration.” - Fr. Georges Cottier, after his triumph over Campos
On June 27, diocesan priest and retired US Navy chaplain, Fr. Kevin Cusick, announced the following on Twitter:
BREAKING: For the first time a SSPX priest joins annual @MilArchUSA discernment retreat for prospective active duty military chaplains.1
Yes, you got that right: An SSPX priest (with the apparent consent of his superiors!) is off to a 5-day retreat to consider a conciliar vocation in the US military chaplaincy.
Let that sink in a bit.
Doesn’t sound right?
There must be some mistake?
No, there is no mistake.
The Military Archdiocese of the United States has its own website, and on it you will find this announcement:
Priests attending the June 25-29 retreat are from the dioceses of Burlington, VT; Winona-Rochester, MN; and Marquette, MI; and the Legionnaires of Christ, the Congregation of Jesus and Mary, the Society of St. Pius X, and the Congregation of the Missions.2
In case you wondered just what, precisely, might take place at such a retreat, the US Military Archdiocese was kind enough to give some interesting details:
Staying at the Theological College in Northeast Washington, the priests will gather daily for prayer and the Eucharist…The highlight of the gathering will come on Thursday in the Pentagon Memorial Chapel at the 9/11 crash site, where the priests will concelebrate Mass.3
Feeling a bit faint?
Still hanging onto the hope of some explanation which will make it all better?
You had better sit down.
Conversation with a Military Chaplain
Shocked and appalled at the flagrant liberalism, I too held within myself the hope of some kind of satisfying explanation:
Perhaps this priest imagines himself to be able to enter the Military Archdiocese and celebrate only the traditional Latin Mass, use exclusively the other traditional sacraments, and so on and so forth.
Yes, surely he had a conversation with Archbishop Broglio4, and they came to some kind of understanding! But wait, that would make this SSPX priest just an indult priest…
Not wanting to speculate any further, I called an old local acquaintance who just happens to be a military chaplain for the last 20+ years (and is also a local indult priest with friends in the US District).
Surely he is the man to ask, and indeed he was.
So I called him.
But what he had to say was not encouraging:
All US Catholic military chaplains are subordinate to Archbishop Broglio, while still belonging to their home dioceses or religious orders [i.e., If this priest were to decide to actually join the Military Archdiocese, effectively, the SSPX would agree to “lend” him to the Military Archdiocese, but he will continue to be a member of the SSPX. Don’t lose sight of this critical point!];
If one is deployed on active duty [as this priest seems to be interested in doing], Archbishop Broglio’s influence over that priest will be more direct; if in the National Guard or Reserves, his home diocese or religious order will have more sway over him;
In order for an SSPX priest to join the military chaplaincy, he would be required to produce a letter from his superiors permitting it. [This implies that if the US District is permitting this priest to consider this conciliar vocation, they are not opposed in principle to his exercising a conciliar apostolate; quite the opposite, as their explicit permission is required];
Archbishop Broglio gives an annual military chaplain vocation retreat, and this seems to be the one this SSPX priest is currently attending;
According to my acquaintance, (who, again, has been a military chaplain for decades), it is inconceivable that a priest would be admitted into the military chaplaincy, and be permitted to serve less than 1% of those identifying themselves as traditional Catholics; his commanding officers would consider him a “useless priest,” as they would be required to furnish an additional priest to serve the other 99% (which isn’t going to happen).
He says there is no precedent for any such arrangement anywhere in the US military chaplaincy, and considers it impossible, not only because of the objections of the various commanding officers, but also because of what he knows of Archbishop Broglio, who despite some conservative characteristics, is certainly not traditional (and as is explained in endnote #4, recently stated that he would “rather have no priests at all, than have traditional priests.” Obviously, such a one would never tolerate this fantasized arrangement.
Consequently, my acquaintance stated that, if the report is true that an SSPX priest will be joining the chaplaincy, with the permission of the SSPX, he will definitely be saying the Novus Ordo on a regular basis (with any TLMs being the private exception).
So let’s digest this all:
- At this moment, there is an SSPX priest participating in a conciliar retreat;
- In which he is attending a daily Novus Ordo Mass;
- Receiving Novus Ordo Communion;5
- And who will be concelebrating the Novus Ordo Mass;
- With the permission of his SSPX superiors;
That’s appalling to any traditionalist who has not been damaged by the last 7 years of SSPX branding.
But it is still not the worst.
Have you figured it out yet?
It is this:
If this priest should decide to actually join the military chaplaincy, in which by all accounts he will be forced to celebrate predominantly the Novus Ordo Mass, while still remaining a member of the SSPX (albeit “loaned” out to the Military Archdiocese), and with the permission of his superiors, it will represent a new deplorable precedent in the history of the SSPX ralliement:
The SSPX will now have its first officially permitted bi-ritual priest.
And even if something should intervene to forestall this eventuality (and heaven knows it certainly won’t be the complaints of the anesthetized and boiled frogs in the pews!), there is no way to rewind the precedent already set:
The SSPX now allows their priests to attend conciliar retreats; to concelebrate; to actively participate in the Novus Ordo Mass, to receive Novus Ordo Communion.
But nothing has changed!
We won’t compromise!
Rome must accept us as we are!
We have always been at war with Eastasia!6
There is still one escape hatch here for the SSPX: That this priest has determined to leave the SSPX, and consequently what is stated above all misses the target.
God, let it be so!
Please, let it be so!
But in that case, Fr. Cusick’s Tweet was extremely irresponsible, and the silence of the US District on this point would be so negligent in quashing what little scandal a branded faithful can muster, that it would certainly exonerate any “sour grapes” charges of “rash judgment.”
On the contrary!
In the old days, when high profile departures (voluntary or involuntary) from the SSPX hit the airwaves, the District sprung into action, and explained why the priest in questions’ reasonings were defective.
True, this priest is anonymous to most, but the Tweet made the case high profile, and if it were true that this priest was abandoning the SSPX for the conciliar Church (of which his own SSPX is now ¾ integrated into?), did not the District have a duty to publicize that fact? Or is it that, after so much branding, the SSPX dare not publicly recount the reasons why such a course of action for this particular priest will be ruinous to his faith?
Come to think of it, does the SSPX even believe that anymore?
- 1. https://twitter.com/MCITLFrAphorism/status/1012008843558178817
- 2. https://archdioceseforthemilitaryservicesusa.createsend.com/campaigns/reports/viewCampaign.aspx?d=d&c=D7BF0B7039F8D419&ID=69A5447128F4E2712540EF23F30FEDED&temp=False&tx=0
- 3. Ibid.
- 4. Archbishop Broglio is the Archbishop in charge of all US Military Chaplains. Incidentally, this is the same Archbishop Broglio who only a year ago stated that he would rather have no priests at all, then have a traditional priest! See here: https://onepeterfive.com/military-archdiocese-better-no-priests-traditional-ones/ In other words, you can put to rest any wishful thinking about Archbishop Broglio carving out a traditional apostolate for this wayward SSPX priest.
- 5. One person held out hope that perhaps this priest will say his own private Mass, and/or not receive Communion. I think however the presumption is otherwise, as he will certainly be saying the NOM and receiving NOM Communion should he actually join the military chaplaincy, and in light of Archbishop Broglio’s animus towards Tradition, I would be very surprised if he should make any special accommodations for an SSPX priest. Nevertheless, I admit it is possible, and if it should in fact turn out to be the case, it will result in the most enthusiastic retraction I have ever made!
- 6. The reference is to the practice of “Crimethink” in Orwell’s dystopian novel “1984.” In the book, an oppressive regime is actively rooting out all those who could pose a threat to the Party. “Good” citizens, therefore, developed the skill of Crimethink,” which allows them to easily accept contradictions in party policy as a matter of “protective stupidity.” As an example in the book, a party slogan in the public square flashes “We have always been at war with Eurasia.” The crowd, momentarily confused about what the party wanted them to believe, takes up the chant, only to contradict themselves moments later when the Party reverted to the old slogan, and the citizens again with it: “We have always been at war with Eastasia!” The same phenomena in on display in SSPX chapels the world over among those who accept all the blatant contradictions to former SSPX policy, maintaining nothing has changed: “We have always been at war with Eastasia!”